Maneo Mapharisa

Starting STEM career can feel like a journey into the unknown and it’s important to find the courage first so that you can feel confident in your plans.

Country of origin

Lesotho

Which company do you work for?

Girls Coding Academy

What is your specific area of specialisation?

Computer science

How long have you been in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) fields?

10 years

As a woman in a male dominated industry, what has been the biggest challenge you have faced in your career, and how did you overcome it?

My boss would call a male employee like me to help her with her computer with any IT tasks because they never had female IT before. I volunteered to solve other problems. With that, they saw that I still know the job as he does. And with time they end up trusting me with many duties. They still want me to go back and work with them now.

What inspired you to join this industry?

I loved Airplanes, I would wave when they passed by. I had no idea about computer science. But there was a book at home where I read about computer science and I fell in love with it. My brother also guided me through the journey of computer science from the start.

What changes, if any, have you seen in your field with regards to women in your field?

We as women we should stop limiting ourselves, most women want ready-made e.g. tech objects or rather pay for tech services they can learn and do in a short period of time. We are lazy to learn. Boys are explorers we can be too. This is our era to shine and to use every opportunity to learn and succeed. I think higher power bodies in STEM should also make it easy for women to access resources they may need in their STEM journey. Parents should give their children STEM opportunities at a tender age.

How can we attract more women to consider a career in the STEM fields?

We should create environments e.g. tech hubs that accommodate females in the STEM fields, host events, have community projects that deals with STEM and females taking the lead but not forgetting males. Every female that is exposed to STEM should start mentoring those who know nothing because some don’t even know what STEM is.

If you were to advise other young women starting their careers in the tech or within the STEM fields, what is the one thing you would say to them?

Starting STEM career can feel like a journey into the unknown and it’s important to find the courage first so that you can feel confident in your plans. When considering how to start a STEM Career, the first question to ask yourself is what is your fear? It could be failure, changes to your personal life, fear of unknown or monetary problems. Whatever it is –  identify that fear and conquer it by taking your career journey one step at a time.

Steps to consider while starting a career
1)Set your goals
2) Work the way you want
3) Learn to embrace mistakes
4) Reach out for help and guidance

When not working, what do you do for fun?

I play tennis or travel

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